"In Drought, Water War in Calif. Fought Underground"

"FRESNO, Calif. -- For decades, this city in California's agricultural heartland relied exclusively on cheap, plentiful groundwater and pumped increasingly larger amounts from an aquifer as its population grew."

"But eventually, the water table dropped by more than 100 feet, causing some of Fresno's wells to cave in and others to slow to a trickle. The cost of replacing those wells and extracting groundwater ballooned by 400 percent.

"We became the largest energy demand in the region — $11 million a year for electricity just to run the pumps," said Martin Querin, manager of the city's water division, which supplies 550,000 residents.

Fresno is just one player in a water war that's quietly being fought underground. Throughout the Central Valley — one of the world's most productive agricultural regions — farmers, residents and cities have seen their wells go dry. Those who can afford it have drilled deeper wells that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Gosia Wozniacka reports for the Associated Press September 9, 2013.

Source: AP, 09/10/2013